City Skyline Plat (Plan) of the City Link to City Home
About Columbus For Citizens For Business Where Can I...? Links Search Home


     Electricity Home
2005 Annual Report




Copyright © 2006
City of Columbus
All rights reserved.

Questions?  Comments?
Contact the Webmaster

Linking Policy
Privacy Policy





Green Power
Turning Water Into Electricity

O'Shaughnessy Hydroelectric Plant

How it Operates

Like any modern power generation system, the O'Shaughnessy Hydroelectric Plant is engineered to get the most out of its power source.  While the principle of using water to make energy is not revolutionary, it is a remarkably effective system.

River water, over 10,000 gallons a minute, enters a tunnel below a gatehouse on the O'Shaughnessy Bridge.  Debris is screened out, so only uncluttered river water gets through.  This "fuel" travels down the tunnel, or penstock, at a rapid pace.  Just before it enters a turbine it passes through the "wicket" gates which rotate, giving the water more power to turn the turbine.  The action of the water in the turbine engages the electric generator which sends electricity surging into power lines.  Water is discharged back into the Scioto River below the dam.

Planning Ahead

When the O'Shaughnessy Dam was built in the 1920's the City of Columbus provided for the future.  The design included provisions for a hydroelectric plant. 

More than 60 years later, the time was right to build one.  After feasibility studies were completed, plans were drawn and construction began on the O'Shaughnessy Hydro Plant.  It was dedicated in 1987.

Hydro Plant Unique

The 5 megawatt O'Shaughnessy Hydroelectric Plant was the first new hydroelectric plant built in Ohio in 50 years, not counting the Ohio River developments; certainly a progressive move by the City of Columbus.

The plant is a joint venture by the Divisions of Water and Electricity.  Power from two turbine generators using Scioto River water is fed to Columbus Southern Power electric lines for use by thousands of homes and businesses.

Using Natural Resources Wisely

The great concept behind hydro power is using a recyclable resource…..river water, to provide a useful consumer product…..electricity.  Unlike other energy sources, such as coal or natural gas, the river water is a re-useable resource.  In fact, the water leaves cleaner than when it came into the plant.  Fishermen can often be seen outside the plant.

Call for Assistance

Prompt reliable service is our policy.  Whether you're already one of our customers or would like more information about services offered by the City of Columbus, Division of Electricity, we're here to answer your questions.  Here are several telephone numbers that you can call:

Customer Service.....645-7360

Service Interruptions or Street Lighting Outage.....645-7627


Public Information Office.....645-7038


General Information.....645-8371


City of Columbus
Department of Public Utilities
Division of Electricity
3500 Indianola Avenue
Columbus, Ohio  43214